I honestly don't know what to feel about this book. I like Ann Aguirre. I heard a lot of great things about her and I ABSOLUTELY loved her Razorland series. Hands down one of the most enjoyable and atmospheric post-apocalyptic dystopian YA I've read. Once I was able to get her Perdition, I was utterly ecstatic and was hoping for an equally, if not, better read than her YA series. Unfortunately, it left nothing but a bitter taste in my mouth, as it didn't reach the high levels of expectations that I reserve for great authors like her.
This book had a pretty cool premise (a ship that's just floating in space that's used to imprison the deadliest of criminals… just how awesome is that?!); it had a tough, strong female lead that's perfectly capable of taking care of herself and of others, of which many are men; and it had romance, too! I mean, who says "no" to romance, right… Perdition had the right ideas, the right concept; basically, it had the skeleton of what could have been the perfect book, but the execution? It lacked… and quite terribly at that, I am afraid...
You see, I have no qualms with Dred. I get that she was strong and capable and not afraid to make hard choices, and I totally see that she earned her place and the respect of her peers. It was actually quite refreshing to see a lone female towering swarms of men like they're nothing. Jael, the other main character, was an angsty dude that had trust issues (DUH. Didn't see that one coming /sarcasm). They were likeable to a certain extent that they were not detestable, but they were still bland. I suppose they were meant to be highly complex characters, however, every time they exchanged lines, to each other or to other people, they came off as hollow shells with cardboard personalities - dull and absolutely flat. Good lord, the dialogue was excruciating. If they weren't bland, they were cheesy, and it was an eyeroll and grunt-fest throughout the damn book. Sometimes they were attempts for humor, but they only failed in making my chuckle or smile… heck, this book failed in making me feel anything beyond twitching my eyebrows and grinding my teeth in annoyance.
Character development felt a bit rushed to me, too. It annoyed me to no end how it felt like the emotions and perceptions of the characters toward each other changed in a snap, like there were no smooth transition, or at least an event that would completely justify it. I like it when the character grows, I grow with them. I like it when his attitude changes, mine changes, too. In this book, however, it was the complete opposite.
Character A does something unusual and terribly cliché. A gesture of kindness towards her minions, something Character B has never seen before. EVER.
Character B: Wow, Character A is so kind. I feel like trusting her now! Yup yup, I'll place my life on the line for her now.
Me: T___T Are you fucking serious?
Yes; yes. Go ahead; accuse me of being nitpicky, say what you will, doesn't change the fact that the changes in feelings and character didn't seem believable to me. Couple that with the cringe-worthy lines and you have one hell of a horrible experience. I fucking swear, each time Dred did something cliché that OF COURSE would soften a hardened heart, I felt a little bit of me die inside. Each time that happened, I would remember the wonderful moments I had with her YA Razorland series and would fervently wish I'd find the same magic here.
The politics was interesting, but nothing complex or new. The betrayal was pretty obvious, too, I didn't feel any shock factor at all. Booo!
Overall, it was a disappointing read. I don't think I'll check out the rest of this series.